So… there we have it.
A shirt that’s green and yellow, and which – via the world’s worst kept secret – tips its hat to the City kits of the 1930s.
The general consensus seems to be that’s it’s ‘awful’ and the desire to appease the Aviva marketing gurus has led us to a ‘lop-sided’ design. But [cliché klaxon] at the end of the day – regardless of petitions etc – it’s there for the duration of 2015/16 so, love it or hate it, we may as well get used to it.
For once, I did find myself intrigued – evidence I guess that the club’s teaser did its job – although by 09:59 I was rapidly careering towards indifference on the basis of it being just another twist on yellow and green.
By 10:01 I had moved on from its design and on to who might be wearing it this season, which in my aged view is what *really* matters. Also what matters is that the shoulder adorns a badge that says Premier League.
For those who are still squirming at the yellow Aviva square on the front or the tiny collar, take comfort from the fact that previous designs of questionable taste have invariably been worn by a team that delivers on the pitch – the best and most obvious example being the wonderful ‘egg and cress’ as worn so heroically by Gossy and co.
If all we have to stress over is that ‘bloody stupid yellow square’ then we’ll be doing okay.
For those players who were offered no leeway in their summer schedule, the fields of Colney have already been the scene of two days of rigourous fitness testing and now for that same group it’s a five-day training camp in the luxurious surroundings of St George’s Park.
As ever, the manager’s rhetoric continues to inspire and in conversation with the club’s official site he explained the importance of the stay at FA headquarters:
“It’s about spending a bit of time together… I think it’s important – after we won the Play-Off Final, everyone shot off in their own direction to enjoy their summer. It’s important we get that unity back together as well.
“Everyone’s in great spirits because of the way we ended last season and the fact that we’re in the Premier League looking forward to those games.”
In addition he’s looking forward to a full pre-season during which time he and Frankie can further embed their footballing ethos on the players:
“I think it will help a lot. When you come in and work on things mid-season, when you’ve got games coming up, you don’t want to over-train them and give them too much information.”
Among those returning next week are two strikers who, for very different reasons, saw fit to depart the Fine City in order to play some football.
The Ricky story has been discussed probably more than any other but it remains an intriguing one. It also remains, should he wish to accept it, the biggest mission of Alex Neil’s fledgling City career.
While he is unlikely to have witnessed the Dutchman’s abilities first hand, despite the comings and goings of the management and coaching staff, there will still be a few faces who were in situ upon his arrival, the most senior of whom is our other Ricky… Technical Director, Ricky Martin.
Therefore, while I’m sure Alex will be keen to offer RvW a clean slate, he will know the reasons – both painful and excruciating – for his Ligue 1 sabbatical in St Etienne.
The smart money is on Ricky not making the cut – especially given Neil’s penchant for lining up with a lone striker and a ‘number 10’ – and a performance level akin to those lame displays at the back end of 2013-14 (it’s impossible to forget that ‘blind pass’ to no-one at Craven Cottage) will guarantee him never gracing the Carrow Road turf again.
But, while the other half may disagree, I am a romantic. I still dream of Ricky making the net bulge in front of an adoring Barclay. I still dream of seeing those predatory instincts deliver us goals aplenty amidst crowded Premier League penalty boxes.
No-one pays £8.5million for a player with nothing to offer do they?
Having said that I also believe in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy.
Through less misty eyes, I do wonder if Kyle Lafferty will be afforded a full pre-season to make his claim. Clearly the Ulsterman is keen to be given the chance to impress (why wouldn’t he) and he does possess certain qualities that will appeal to Alex and Frankie.
But can he transform himself from a walking yellow card who rarely finds the net into one who keeps his nose clean, who gives the John Terrys and the Vincent Kompanys a rough ride for all the right reasons and who scores goals?
It’s another big call to be made from the manager and one that potentially poses an even greater challenge than either Ricky or Seb Bassong.
Either way, everything the gaffer has done since he arrived tells me we should simply trust his judgement.
Finally, while it still feels like yesterday, it’s actually been 38 days since we were enjoying Norfolk’s biggest ever group hug inside Wembley. As daft as it sounds, for me the buzz still resonates and probably will until hostilities recommence in early-August.
The recording of the events of that afternoon are recorded for posterity on the Gowers Sky+ planner and are marked ‘K’ for ‘keep’. Woe betide any member of said household who dares to change its status.
Not since that day have I have experienced anything that comes remotely close to producing that same level of sporting joy. Despite the bravery of the Lionesses, and the cavalier efforts England’s One-Day International team in the series with New Zealand nothing compares – and probably won’t for years to come.
But, in the most unlikeliest of circumstances, Gowers Junior stepped into the breach yesterday and gave Messrs Jerome, Hoolahan, Redmond and Johnson a run for their money.
While Grove Primary School Sports Day may just lose out to a Wembley Play-Off Final in terms of grandeur, the sight and sound of a young Gowers ripping it up over ten events on a sun-scorched playing field filled Dad with that same pride normally felt only when watching those in yellow (and green halves).
And the hardest thing? Being Competitive Dad on the inside, while exuding calmness and impartiality on the outside. Agony.
But well done little fella. If your hero (Wes) had witnessed it, he too would have been proud.
David Bowen says
Great article Gary, with regard to the yellow box, I posted something similar on my not606 forum, I just can’t believe some of the histrionics by a good few of them, the most common being, “They’ve lost £48 from me!” I’m sure that will hit them hard!
Fickle bloody football fans, it’s on the pitch that matters! DOH
Agree with you bout the shirt . But those of us who no longer live in Norwich but abroad and for a long time. Wearing the shirt is a way of expressing our identity, gives us back a feeling of home. The less we look stupid doing so the better we feel ad it serves as a good marketing campaign for a club having its fans around the globe wearing them.
Ben K says
I know it’s only a shirt, but it does look pretty terrible. I can deal with the halves thing, but the enormous yellow box looks plain daft, and when that’s because of the sponsor it’s all the more galling. Halves could’ve been done in a relatively tasteful way.
The most galling thing about it, though, is seeing tweets along the lines of “It looks awful etc etc, but I’ll buy it anyway.” There are countless other ways of showing your support, so why anyone would spend £48(!) pounds on something they don’t like is beyond me.
I completely understand people saying they aren’t that bothered, and it only mildly irks me, but I’ve yet to hear anyone say they actually like it.
Stewart Lewis says
Ben K (3). I agree that the Aviva box detracts a bit from the aesthetic appeal of the shirt. But two points from my side:
1. Personally, I’d be galled if the design was compromised for someone OTHER than a sponsor (i.e. for someone who’s not pouring money into the club).
2. Despite the reservation about the box, I still actually rather like it. And at risk of irking you further, I’d probably still buy it even if I didn’t.
It takes all kinds…
Totally disagree – if you’re selling an over inflated product for the ridiculous amount of £48 you need to get it right. I buy bread for £1.50 and if I don’t like it, I don’t buy it again.
You’re putting yourself on the line for a price, so people are fully allowed their opinions. Mine is that it’s horrid and would have taken all of 7 seconds to say, “Let’s do the kit half green, half yellow and charge an obscene amount”.
People aren’t saying the season will be a failure because the kit is awful, they are simply saying they don’t like a product they are being offered – it’s completely unintelligent to suggest it’s on the pitch that matters when referring to the kit. The two are totally unrelated! Kits, at that price, are more than just what your team wear nowadays. That’s not the fans fault, that’s the marketed nature of the footballing beast – which in itself deserves an honest and open opinion.
Canary 101 says
Good article and, as usual, an enjoyable read.
I’m still debating buying the shirt. If it had been good, straight old fashioned halves i would have liked it a lot. I have seen a photo-shop edit with genuine halves and you can still see the sponsor clearly over the green. If they had used a lighter shade of green it would have been even more visible. They could also have avoided the box by keeping the split going through to the side of the shirt. As much as it supports the club, i’m tempted to keep donning last seasons shirt for another year. I might even try to have one printed with real halves. It just seems to me that this was designed in about one minute and the fans deserve more effort for their money. As for how the squad will look come August, i really do think Neil will watch everyone like a hawk in training. I’m looking forward to seeing if RVW can fit back in. I guess even if players perform well in training, they have to fit in as a character as well. I don’t expect AN to hold Ricky’s good looks and price tag against him, like i think some of the players did in the past (especially Mr. Snodgrass). AN will only be bothered about talent and footballing style i’m sure. I guess both he and Ricky will have made up their minds quite soon after their first ‘wee chat’. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the training sessions next week.
Gary Gowers says
Toad (5) – “…it’s completely unintelligent to suggest it’s on the pitch that matters when referring to the kit. The two are totally unrelated!”
Ouch! They say the truth hurts! Was going to suggest I must ‘try harder’ but as I’m so lacking in intelligence, not sure it’s even worth my effort trying!
Forgive my ignorance.
But well done on making it personal from the comfort of anonymity.
interesting use of the word “majority” in the title. I would contend that it is actually the majority who dislike the kit (“…for the majority that’s good enough”) – I’ve not heard a positive word said about the new shirt in the office or while walking around the fair city yesterday lunchtime. Though I will concede to having seen the occasional positive comment on social media – I think it’s fair to say reaction has been overwhelmingly negative, and at best neutral.
Have to say my disappointment goes beyond the yellow Aviva box – what’s with the weird yellow stripe on the right-hand shoulder? It’s asymetrical and it’s ugly in my opinion. The white trim on the shorts is also hideous and unnecessary.
I don’t think the club did itself any favours with the overhyped build-up ahead of the unveiling – possibly the outcry would not have been as great as it was if NCFC had not spent weeks teasing a 1935 retro design.
With every man and his dog of the understanding that the new shirt would be a proper half and half design, it was with utter bafflement that we were presented with something that is in fact not a true half and half design. If you give people expectations, they will be more irritated if those are not met and you cannot complain when people voice an opinion.
Holly H. says
I thought the idea was for a historical kit not an hysterical one. Plenty of fans getting a bit shirty over it. It is a little clumsy on the eye with the awkward sponsors block disrupting the aesthetic aspect (or something) but hey – I’m over it already.
It’s miles better than Watford’s hideous new black lined effort. Swansea’s away kit is a real shocker too. Top prize goes to the Palace away kit.
Gary – Don’t turn it around on me! You’re the one who made the foolish point. I didn’t say you were an idiot. You’re the one attempting to read between the lines (poorly), as it is an unintelligent argument (don’t worry, even I do that from time to time and that doesn’t make me short sighted – but I accept it and act gracefully). I’m also not paid to put my name out there like you, so the anonymity point is rather strange. It’s a choice I’m allowed to make, like whether or not I like the kit and if I’m going to purchase it. But thank you for the sideways swipe from a seat it was your choice to sit in. Kisses.
Stewart Lewis says
Hey, Toad – cool it.
Gary accepted your criticism (more so than I would have done). You jumped on his point that the kit design is far less important than the men who wear it on the pitch for us – it seemed to me a fair point but you had a right to challenge it, which Gary more than acknowledged.
I can’t see why anyone on here needs anonymity (unless they’re making terrible puns), but no-one doubts your right to it.
Ben K says
Stewart (4), it seems we’re destined to disagree on things, although I’m totally fine with that if it’s a genuine difference of opinion, which I’m sure it is. Incidentally, I was lauding a point you made on Russell’s recent article on here, somewhat belatedly, the other day (your comment about the appalling lack of action in the Jan ’14 transfer window, with which I agree wholeheartedly). It does indeed take all sorts.
About the sponsor, of course it would be hugely irritating if the whole look of the thing was compromised for no good reason, but why on Earth would any club do that? I appreciate the money is needed to compete but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a brand dominate a shirt in that way.
Buying it when you don’t even like it, though? Seems strange to me. Perhaps if you’d collected them all from a young age and didn’t want a gap you’d bite the bullet, but I can’t see any other reason.
Stewart Lewis says
Ben (11): It’s the lifeblood of a site like MFW that people disagree about things. For me, it’s all about HOW we disagree. Many people seem able to do it in the civilised way that you (and hopefully I) do.
I take your points about the shirt, and I was being provocative in saying I’d still buy it if I didn’t like it. But that’s still probably true for the reason you suspect, i.e. I simply always do.
And yes, I noticed your support for my comment about Jan 2014!
Keith B says
Canaribleu (2), I understand your point “Wearing the shirt is a way of expressing our identity, gives us back a feeling of home” for those in exile. Although I must admit drawing attention to myself by walking around the centre of Manchester in one has never really appealed to me.
But in any case if the purpose is “identity” that doesn’t mean you have to buy the latest one every season does it? If you like the last one, or the one before, wear that. The locals won’t have a clue, let alone care, what season it’s from.
I’m more worried about you having “bleu” in your monicker…. 😮
Toad – worry not. my wife used to get vitriolic that that on a regular basis. Now she’s post menopausal it’s all the time.
Gary – good article, so my thoughts:
1 Don’t care about the shirt.
2 Would love to see RvW come good, but, like you, am not in a breath-holding situation.
3 Whenever I saw Raff play, I thought he offered something different, a little buccaneering if you will? I wouldn’t object to him staying, but, of course, trust the boss’s judgement!
The real question is how will the shirt affect the players?
Can having yellow on one side and green on another affect the peripheral vision?
When the brain says ‘look for yellow’, that’s fine. When it’s also having to look for green, it may be in trouble.
I predict a woeful season of misplaced passes and all- round confusion!*
*I don’t really but seeing as we’re all getting hysterical…
Stewart Lewis says
Cityfan (16): It’s a real concern. But few appreciate that they’ve already solved the problem with a cleverly-designed big yellow box on the front.
Chris w says
By way of an analogy I personally hated last seasons diagonal stripe Middlesbrough shirt, and was it just my imagination or was it fact that very few of the 40,000 Boro fans that turned up at Wembley actually had the current shirt? For me I dont buy shirts very often and wouldnt be buying this seasons anyway, well not unless we get to Wembley again!!!
Gary Field says
I guess that this shirt design has occurred because the club have tried to opt for a retro shirt but still has to cater for existing sponsorship contractual obligations?
Norwich Harlequin says
After witnessing the amount of negative sentiment on social media, I feel i have to stand up for the new shirt. I, like many, was expecting a variation on the 1930s half & half shirt, and was pleased to see that it turned out to be exactly that… a variation. However, it appears that many people are somewhat distraught that the shirt isn’t a more straightforward half & half design. Well I, for one, champion the asymmetrical and celebrate the quirky and avant-garde; where some see a yellow block, I see a bold interlocking design with the purpose of rendering the shirt mostly yellow (as it should be). For those of a more traditional nature, do not fret, I have no doubt that a much more conservative (and symmetrical) kit will quickly replace the current one… I only hope that the football will not be quite so bland.
Premier League Pedant says
I like Lafferty but I really can’t see him staying. He wants to be up front, and playing every week, and neither will happen at City. I can see him going to a decent Championship side.
Never bought a replica shirt. Hideous things to wear, unless you’re actually playing football. I’d rather spend £48 on 4 scarves (I have a habit of losing them). I’m sure everyone will get used to this new design after a few slo-mo replays of nets rippling and City players celebrating. That’s by far the most effective marketing tool.
(Premier League Pedant, formerly Neil N, Pray, formerly ShinyShoes, real name James.)